The federal monitoring team assigned to keep tabs on a raft of court-mandated reforms to the New Orleans Police Department will report on the city’s progress and answer questions from the public at a meeting Tuesday night in Central City.
The team, led by the Washington, D.C.-based Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton law firm, last month released its latest quarterly report on the NOPD’s efforts to comply with one of the most wide-ranging federal consent decrees in the country.
That report found several areas where the NOPD has been slow to implement the changes required under the 2-year-old agreement that Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Attorney General Eric Holder signed in July 2012.
The team found the NOPD is doing a bad job in training the dozens of new recruits the Landrieu administration is banking on to refuel a force that has seen a 30 percent manpower drop in five years. Inadequate lesson plans, poor teachers and weak leadership continue to plague the police academy, the report found.
It also noted a “troubling failure” by the NOPD to follow its own policies on recording and investigating police use-of-force incidents; a failure to keep track of whether interrogations at district stations were recorded; and little progress on developing a plan to de-escalate potentially violent encounters with the mentally ill.
On the plus side, the team found the NOPD had made recent gains in drafting new policies to mesh with the 492-point reform plan, as well as progress in the controversial new city-run system for managing paid off-duty officer details.
The consent decree is projected to cost the city $55 million over its first five years.
The monitoring team reports to U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan, who endorsed the consent decree in January 2013 and will have the final say over when the city can break free from federal oversight of its long-maligned police force.
The meeting is scheduled to run from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Ashé Cultural Arts Center, 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.